Does mindfulness training help working memory ‘work’ better?

Amishi P. Jha, Ekaterina Denkova, Anthony P. Zanesco, Joanna E. Witkin, Joshua Rooks, Scott Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


There has been a proliferation of mindfulness training (MT) programs offered across a multitude of settings, including military, business, sports, education, and medicine. As such, ascertaining training effectiveness and determining best practices for program delivery are of the utmost importance. MT is often introduced to promote an array of desired effects from better mood, better leadership and management skills, to improved workplace or academic performance. Despite the diversity of factors motivating adoption of MTs, it can be argued from a cognitive training perspective that there should be uniformity in the core cognitive processes strengthened via repeated and systematic engagement in MT exercises. Herein, we explore the hypothesis that MT promotes salutary changes in the brain's working memory (WM) system. We review prior research and highlight aspects of MT programs that may be critical for achieving beneficial WM effects. Further, we suggest that given the centrality of WM in core processes such as emotion regulation, problem solving, and learning, MT programs capable of achieving WM benefits may be best positioned to promote other desired outcomes (e.g. reductions in negative mood). For these reasons, we recommend that more studies include WM metrics in their evaluation of MT programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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